By Dave Williams
Capitol Beat News Service
ATLANTA – Coronavirus cases in Georgia and deaths from the virus continued to climb on Friday.
As of noon Friday, the state Department of Public Health reported 420 cases, a big jump from the 287 cases reported on Thursday. Thirteen patients have died from coronavirus, up from 10 the previous day.
While elderly Georgians are considered most vulnerable to contracting the virus, 41% of those testing positive for coronavirus as of Friday were between the ages of 18 and 59. Thirty-three percent of the current cases were Georgians 60 years of age or older.
Between the state and private labs, 2,386 Georgians have been tested for coronavirus. Gov. Brian Kemp and state health officials are calling for prioritizing the limited number of available test kits so that the elderly, health-care workers and other first responders are tested first.
While Kemp has not imposed a mandatory stay-home order, a strategy the governors of California and New York have resorted to during the last two days, he is urging Georgians to practice social distancing and wash their hands frequently. The governor is leaving decisions on closing businesses up to local governments and the companies themselves.
Coronavirus now has expanded to 50 Georgia counties. Fulton County leads the way with 79 cases as of Friday, followed by Cobb County with 45, Bartow County with 40, DeKalb County with 35 and Gwinnett County with 20.